After 18 months of industry conferences being postponed, the recent Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) Convention in Fort Worth, Texas was especially welcomed by Clint Bundy, Managing Director with Bundy Group. For over 32 years, Bundy Group has been active in advising business owners and management teams in the Energy & Power, Electromechanical, and Automation sectors. It was great to be back at the industry conference! As Bundy Group has done for over a decade at EASA shows, meeting with business owners and our buyer relationships, stopping by booths of many of our friends and running into long-time colleagues was a reminder of the value to our team of attending this conference.
COVID Didn't Stop the Industry Momentum
While the pandemic impacted Bundy Group’s attendance at trade shows like EASA, it did not stop our work with companies and owners in the Energy & Power, Electromechanical and Automation sectors. Our “Closed Deal” completion work over the past year with transactions such as Custom Controls Unlimited and E-Merge are prime examples of this activity during the pandemic. At this time, Bundy Group is working on six engagements in this market, with a focus on business sales and capital raises. We also maintain an ongoing dialogue with our strategic and private equity buyer relationships, some of whom were also in attendance at the EASA conference. These buyer relationships stress their desire to stay in a strong working relationship with Bundy Group, which allows them the opportunity to participate in engagements we are actively representing.
Positioned for Growth
The universal takeaway from business owners at the EASA Conference is that the industry is expecting a strong runway for the next few years. Because of the critical services many in the EASA sector provide, none of the firms were “brought to their knees” by the pandemic. Instead, the consensus was some repair and maintenance work, as well as system integration assignments, had been delayed due to lockdowns. While this negatively impacted 2020 performance for some industry players, the rebound is occurring, as client work that would have normally been completed in 2020 is now being addressed in 2021.
Furthermore, many owners have worked hard over the past ten years to diversify industries they service. By taking this step, their companies have weathered volatile markets, including the pandemic. This will allow companies to accelerate their performance in a post-pandemic era. Excitement and optimism are certainly in the air for these service providers for the future as a productive next 18 months (and longer) is expected.
Talented Employees and Servicing Clients
Finding skilled and motivated employee talent is very challenging for most businesses today, and our meetings at EASA affirmed that concern within this specific niche. For a variety of complex reasons, companies are constantly evaluating how to balance this reality with the needs of their businesses and clients. As the employment picture evolves, companies are leaning on their nucleus of experienced employees more than ever. Companies are continuing to look to automation and technology solutions to help fill in the gap of employee talent, gain operating leverage and find means to increase margins without sacrificing quality client service.
As Brian Beaulieu, Chief Economist with ITR Economics, stated in his keynote presentation at the EASA conference, businesses should focus on three fundamentals in order to successfully rebound from the pandemic and meet client demand expectations:
It's a Seller's Market
As is evident from Bundy Group’s current client engagements, as well as the active conversations at the EASA Conference, there is a tremendous amount of buyer interest in the Electromechanical, Energy & Power, and Automation sectors. Owners are receiving more calls from buyers than ever. Bundy Group receives frequent requests from buyers to review our client engagements. The Bundy Group-led engagement process focuses on delivering maximum value and options to our business owner clients. Buyers understand that they will have to be more aggressive in their valuations when buying a company represented by Bundy Group. However, they also acknowledge that they will acquire a company with strong attributes, that is in a “ready state” to close on a transaction and begin integration.
The consolidated feedback from the owners we met at the EASA Conference, coupled with our own experience, indicate M&A markets are well positioned for the next couple of years. Furthermore, with transaction tax rate uncertainties on the horizon for 2022, Bundy Group expects to announce a number of closed deals, including with companies active in EASA, by the end of 2021.
Bundy Group is an industry-focused investment bank that specializes in representing business owners and management teams in business sales, acquisitions, and capital raises. The 32-year-old firm has closed more than 250 transactions, specializing in several industries, including energy and infrastructure, healthcare and life sciences, industrials and manufacturing, and controls and automation. For more information about our industry expertise and other recent transactions, visit https://bundygroup.com/industry-expertise/.